Letter to the Editor: May 19th

Dear Editors, 
If you are a university-age Ontarian, you likely remember the “Yours to Discover” license plates. The Ministry of Transportation first issued the blue-on-white reflective sheet license plates to Ontario drivers in 1996. They began with the format of AAAA-001. The plates are heavily distributed and can be seen affixed among most vehicles on our roads. However, if you have seen license plates which, like our current state of affairs, are blue, this is attributable to a decision made by the Ontario legislature. 
In early 2020, Premier Ford’s government announced it would redesign the current Ontario license plates to a new white-on-blue (or inverted) design. The new license plates also featured a new trillium logo and typeface, and a change in lettering font. After just two months of distribution, the new license plates were recalled due to visibility issues and funding challenges amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. Nevertheless, the license plates and their distinct features were rendered ineffective for two reasons. 
First, these license plates are flat; they are not press-stamped with raised letters, like plates of old. This is a potential security threat, as counterfeiters now require less sophisticated machinery apparatus to produce fake or altered plates. 
According to numerous online reviews, the license plates are easily constructed by gluing a thin laminate onto a metal template. The quality is questionable. The laminate used in the production of these license plates, designed by the conglomerate known as 3M, rendered the white lettering unreadable both to the naked eye and on camera. License plates are a matter of public safety, as they identify drivers in criminal situations, like a hit-and-run. Sneaky motorists may have tried to keep the plates to bypass expressway toll cameras. However, in facing a province-wide recall, luck has run out for these license plates.
With the vast majority of non-essential businesses having shut down, funding deficits finally prompted the discontinuation of these failed license plates. The Government of Ontario, routinely criticized for its management of education funding, was foolish to aimlessly spend money on ‘rebranding’ an already beautiful and thriving province. Such financial losses due to careless spending pose a million-dollar question: is Ontario “Yours to Discover” or “Yours to Recover”?
Ameer Shash
Sci '22

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